An easy, hearty rigatoni with Italian sausage is the perfect family dinner for cool weather days.
Currently, I’m in the thick of the busiest time of the year, for both business and family life.
Head down, nose to the grind, focused on family and things that pay the bills, declining personal and work invitations every day with “see you next year!” half joking signatures.
I’m exhausted. Happy, but exhausted. Know what I mean?
So it’s during this time when I find myself drawn more and more to comfort food. Those rich, hearty dishes that fill you up with warmth from the inside out.
Pasta: the ultimate comfort food
Pasta is my favorite comfort food.
I would eat pasta for lunch and dinner, at least four times a week, if I could. Pasta is versatile, and just goes with everything. It makes for great vegan dishes, vegetarian dishes, seafood, and meat recipes.
Rigatoni with Italian Sausage
Let’s talk about this Easy, Hearty Rigatoni with Italian Sausage.
It’s the pasta I reach for when I want really delicious, comforting, satisfying, oh so decadent pasta.
This dish is a nice twist on the traditional spaghetti and meat sauce. I love rigatoni pasta because it acts like a sauce vessel that cradles the rich tomato meat sauce.
It’s so good. Not too spicy, and it doesn’t have any “weird” ingredients the kids might balk at. It’s just delicious comfort food at its best.
This is hearty rigatoni with Italian sausage is one of my absolute favorite easy, satisfying family dinner recipes.
This is a great recipe that you can easily customize to your family’s personal taste preference. I hope you try it and love it, too!
What is the best pasta shape to use in this recipe?
I have found rigatoni to be the best pasta shape to hold the sauce and flavors, but you can also use penne pasta, gemeli, rotini, or even medium or large shells.
Any pasta shape that acts like a vessel to hold the sauce is a great pick for this dish.
How can I add BIG flavor to this dish?
My kids like this dish mild, so that’s how I’ve created the recipe. But you can easily add more spices & herbs for a punch of flavor and a little more kick.
For example, add fresh tarragon or sage for an herbaceous fall flavor or some red pepper flakes for a little spice.
How can I make this dish super cheesy?
Love cheese? Sprinkle parmesan cheese or asiago cheese on the cooked dish and place it in a 400 degree oven (middle rack) for about 7-8 minutes to melt the cheese.
What are the best gluten-free pastas and dairy-free pastas?
Grain-free, dairy-free pasta like my favorite Cappello’s pasta is an amazing replacement for pasta.
Rigatoni with Italian Sausage Recipe
- 1/2 pound uncooked rigatoni https://amzn.to/2W69jzT
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 pound Italian sausage with casing removed
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup beef broth or red wine
- 1 can petite diced tomatoes https://amzn.to/2UFmfwn
- 1 8- ounce can tomato paste https://amzn.to/2FgYnKk
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped basil
- parmesan cheese or grated non-dairy cheese optional
- salt and pepper
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add garlic and onions, and sauté for about 2 minutes, just until the onions are translucent.
- Add ground sausage to skillet and stir until fully cooked, about 5 minutes.
- Add beef broth or wine and scrap browned sausage bits off the bottom of the skillet.
- Add tomatoes and tomato paste, stir all ingredients well, turn heat down to low-medium and simmer for at least 10 minutes.
- Add cooked pasta and 1/4 cup reserved pasta water to the skillet and stir all ingredients until the pasta is coated with the sauce. If needed, add more reserve water to create a sauce consistency to your liking.
- Remove from heat. Sprinkle parsley, basil, and/or cheese just before serving. Add salt and pepper to taste.